ASHBURN, Va. (April 19, 2005) -- A day of mixed signals from the Washington Redskins ended with an unexpected twist: a trade that leaves the team with two picks in the first round of the NFL draft.
Paying a hefty price for a short-term gain, the Redskins acquired the No. 25 overall pick from the Denver Broncos. In exchange, Washington gave up its third-round selection (No. 76 overall) in this year's draft and picks in the first and fourth rounds in 2006.
The trade allows the Redskins to take care of both of their most pressing needs -- cornerback and receiver -- in one afternoon. Washington holds the ninth and 25th picks, with the flexibility to trade up or down to get the players the team has targeted.
Oddly, the day began with a report suggesting the Redskins might not have any picks at all in the first round. The Washington Post, in the April 19 editions, reported that team was discussing a trade that would send the No. 9 pick to the Oakland Raiders for cornerback Phillip Buchanon and a second-round selection.
The reaction was terse from vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato.
"That is not true," Cerrato said in a statement released by the team. "We are not trading that pick."
Cerrato's words were a surprise. They went beyond quashing the Buchanon story and ruled out any trade whatsoever for the No. 9 selection, an overreaction that had to be clarified later in the day by coach and team president Joe Gibbs.
"Right now, we've had no discussions with anyone about trading away the ninth pick," Gibbs said. "Are we considering any options we are presented with? Yes. We'll consider anything, but no one has presented a compelling scenario."
That's not to say the Redskins weren't interested in Buchanon. An official within the league, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the team has discussed a possible trade for Buchanon in recent days, but the official said none of the scenarios involved Washington's first-round pick. The official said the Redskins might trade a lower-round pick for Buchanon, but that no deal was imminent.
In essence, the statement was a signal to the rest of the league that the Redskins do not consider Buchanon worthy of a first-round pick. Buchanon has said he is unhappy in Oakland, wants a trade and Washington doesn't want the price tag to go too high.
Regardless, the trade with Denver would seem to dampen any possibility for a Buchanon deal, given that the Redskins can now obtain both a receiver and a cornerback in the first round. The top draft prospects from both positions have visited Redskins Park in recent weeks.
The Redskins need a cornerback to replace Fred Smoot, who departed during free agency, and a receiver is a priority because both Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner requested trades. Coles was sent to the New York Jets for Santana Moss, while Gardner is still on the market.
Also, the Redskins re-signed Tim Hasselbeck, their lone remaining restricted free agent. Hasselbeck is expected to be the third-string quarterback again this season behind Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell.